The Real Goal Behind Netflix's Tiger King, According To Its Director

Tiger King Joseph Maldonado-Passage Joe Exotic Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix released a wild limited series this month with Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem And Madness, which served up a zoo owner and a murder-for-hire plot against the backdrop of “big cat breeding.” What was the real goal behind the series? Tiger King’s co-director has explained.

Tiger King co-director Eric Goode has opened up about the initial purpose behind putting a spotlight on the characters captured in the show. At first, it was all about the animals, and not Joe Exotic. Speaking about some of the zoos shown, Goode told Vanity Fair:

They had hybridized cats and mixed all lineages so there were no clean blood lines. These people were just breeding animals basically like puppy mills.…The real takeaway should be to give your money to conservation programs around the world that are really working hard to save tigers in their range countries and not give your money to sanctuaries, which are really, effectively just caging tigers and cats.

Viewers have a lot to sift through after watching Tiger King, including the issues that the series’ co-director mentions. For reference, Eric Goode directed the series with Rebecca Chaiklin. Together, they uncovered a story that was larger than life as they balanced it with the goal of raising awareness for the animals.

Tiger King’s co-director went on to clarify his initial comments as to the limited series’ aim. Eric Goode pointed out the intersection between “binge-worthy television” and the series’ central characters. What did that mean for Goode’s initial vision for the series? Clarifying his earlier statement, Goode said:

I went into this to explore a different side of the animal world in terms of wild animals in captivity. After spending years with these subjects the project moved in a different direction. Netflix is very adept at making binge-worthy television and with these larger-than-life subjects that was pretty easy to do. However, my goal is and has always been the same, which is to raise awareness and help save the species.

Did the humans overwhelm the emphasis on the animals? Whether it has or not, the final product has apparently not been hurt it in terms of viewership. Thanks to Netflix’s new feature that reveals the most popular shows over the last day, it is safe to say Tiger King is finding an audience.

It is currently ranked as the #1 most-watched content in the U.S. on Netflix, followed by the breakout viewing of The CW series All American. To say that Tiger King has been an early success would be putting it mildly. Tiger King comes on the heels of last year’s Don’t F—k with Cats, which traumatized many animal lovers.

The star of that series revealed she had no idea the show would be so popular. Fast forward a few months, and everyone is talking about hybridized cats, thanks to Tiger King. Will Tiger King achieve its goal of spreading awareness en masse? It certainly shines a spotlight on a world that many probably did not know existed. I, for one, have had my eyes opened just from hearing about the series.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness is currently streaming on Netflix as one of its 2020 premieres. If you need even more new television to binge, you can check out this spring’s premieres.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.